The 4 Hour Work Week — Summary

Learn how to automate your income and live a Rich Lifestyle

In this book, you will learn how to automate your income and optimize your workflow so that you can cut back your working time and eventually break free entirely from your day job. When you free yourself from the burden of work you can pursue the life you want, or work out of pure pleasure without being pressed by deadlines.

A mobile income is key to a splendid, integral life

The notion that one has to suffer for years at work just so that one day one may be able to retire and enjoy some golden years is outdated for the new rich people.

Being a desk slave, trapped in the rat-race, performing work which one does not like, does not lead to a fulfilled life. But people stay in this trap because they convince themselves that that is how things are and that work has to be hard if they want to be rewarded one day.

The New Rich insist in a lush lifestyle here and now. You don’t have to be a millionaire to maintain an integral lifestyle. Where you have enough time and flexibility to do the things you love, travel, dedicate lots of time to your hobbies, and do whatever you love to do.

The New Rich lifestyle is much easier to obtain than you think, you just have to have a moderate, mobile and if possible, automatic income. That way you can manage it easily from anywhere in the world.

Write your own rules

New Rich people don’t go with the flow of the masses. They sidestep them and make their own rules. They challenge conventional ideas and are willing to step on people’s toes if necessary.

The New Rich ignore people’s opinion about what’s “realistic” and what’s “unrealistic.” While people get trapped in their cynicism, they enjoy exploring the world, learning new things, accomplishing feats which normal people wouldn’t even have considered plausible.

Escaping competition

Counterintuitively for some, the New Rich people actually escape a lot of competition by aiming high enough. People who settle for mediocre goals and an average life, often are subject to huge competition from all the other individuals who are fighting for the “realistic” things.

Understanding the worst-case outcome.

While most people fear the risk of big dreams and ambitions, the New Rich understand what the worst case outcome could be. Understanding the worst-case scenario is incredibly liberating. Once they clearly understand the possible consequences of facing the unknown, fear loses its power over them.

If you want to become empowered to pursue big dreams, adopt the mindset of knowing that even the worst failures wouldn’t mean the end of the world. You can always start again. Possessing the experience and right mindset will enable you to get to the top very fast again, even after experiencing a major failure.

Leave the comfort zone

Ignore fear and everyday conventions. You have to leave your comfort zone if you want to get to the good life. Most people mistake optimism with mental laziness. They justify their fear of leaving their comfort zones with the belief that someday somehow all will be right. That mentality keeps them doing the same things every day and making the same excuses every day.

Step out of your comfort zone! Do unpleasant things sometimes. When you see someone you would like to meet, just speak to them, don’t stay with the remorse of having missed that opportunity.

Often what we fear and avoid, are the things we should be doing to turn our dreams into a reality.

Remote work & the Rich Life as an employee

As mentioned, the New Rich are characterized by their ability to escape office desks and freely move wherever they want.

Doing so doesn’t mean you have to quit your job necessarily. Instead, try to work remotely. You can gain maximal freedom and travel the world while staying with your corporation.

Sounds good? First of all, it is always good that you make yourself indispensable to your company. Let your company invest money into you, take special training and go to seminars. Become an expert on topics so that your company could not afford to lose you.

Once you become indispensable, sell the idea of remote work to your boss. Remote work means working from home or anywhere in the world via the Internet.

Keep the transition smooth by proposing a trial period first. Suggest to your managers that you try a test period first to see how much more can get done with this new work method. You could suggest for example that you start working remotely once a week for some time and then evaluate that time with your boss.

During the test, period shows your boss the effectiveness of working remotely. Your productivity should be much higher as you don’t get distracted by the typical office chatter and you don’t lose time commuting.

After your boss sees the results, he will likely be willing to expand the remote only days further until you don’t have to show up at the office at all.

Do the right things

Focus your time and energy on the most important tasks. Use the 80/20 principle.

Time spent working is not equal to productivity. White-collars favorite strategy to impress their superiors is office time. They fill their office day with pointless tasks and spend as much time at work as possible to impress their bosses.

The New Rich, in contrast, focus on the essential. They concentrate on the most important tasks and don’t lose time with trivial things. Productivity and results are their measures of success, and it’s what enables them to get more results with less work.

Eliminate distractions

An uninterrupted workflow is crucial to get things done. Every minor interruption can get you out of track, and it takes time to enter the flow again. That’s why you should make a policy of no interruption.

Let everyone know that you don’t have time for minor things at any time. People should interrupt you only for important matters. Set up an auto response in your mail, telling people that it will take some time for you to reply. Don’t check your emails as they arrive. Check them once per day or once per week instead.

Most things can wait, let people send you emails and voice messages. You should always bundle tasks if necessary.

Bundling work means to set aside a fixed period to deal with accumulated tasks. For example, you could solve all the items on your to-do list when you meet with the person you need input from to address them. Instead of reaching out to that person whenever you encounter something you have to ask them.

Cultivating Selective Ignorance

Often when confronted with a problem, people spend huge amounts of time researching on a topic, when they could solve it in little time by asking an expert.

Try to reduce your information intake. Only focus on the information which helps you to solve the problems and get work done. Reading the newspaper, for example, will unlikely give you relevant information for your job. Go on a low information diet and avoid time-thieves.

Time-thieves are everywhere in the workplace. The usual office chatter and meetings are two of the biggest black holes for your time and energy.

You should only attend to meetings where you are absolutely indispensable. Most meetings are pointless anyway. Meetings only make sense if a decision is to be made which demands input from all participants.

Pointless chatter can be reduced by approaching them differently. For example instead of greeting with a “How are you?” when someone approaches you, say “What can I do for you?” instead.

Automate and remove yourself from the equation

To successfully set up your business so that you don’t need to be part of it, you have to handle the human element. The best way to handle the human element is by eliminating it altogether. Removing the human element means to set up a self-correcting business architecture which corrects itself.

Today it’s fairly easy to accomplish automation. You could, for example, outsource work a big part of the work. Remote work is one big facilitator of outsourcing. Just keep in mind two important things when you set up your business. You shouldn’t be necessary for the equation once everything is set up. Your business should run on its own. Decisions should be made without requiring input from you. To accomplish that you need to delegate responsibilities. You will be surprised by the capacity and willingness to solve problems once you give responsibilities to people and tell them to make their own decisions.

Communication is crucial

There should be no communication bottleneck. Everyone has to be able to communicate freely without requiring you as an intermediary. Productivity will probably even rise if you remove yourself as a bottleneck because decisions can be made faster and thus problems solved earlier. All the while you can dedicate your time to whatever you want, and even create new automated income streams.

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Karl Niebuhr

Karl Niebuhr

I'm Karl! I like to read, learn and share knowledge
Karl Niebuhr

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